India to cull tough words from Urdu syllabus: report

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu Jan 17 14:27:25 UTC 2008

India to cull tough words from Urdu syllabus: report

NEW DELHI (AFP) — India is planning to make the tricky task of
learning Urdu easier -- by leaving difficult words off the school
syllabus, a report said on Wednesday. The National Council of
Education Research, which prepares school curriculums, has been
ordered to replace complicated words in school texts with easier
equivalents from Hindi or English, the Press Trust of India said.
India's official language, Hindi, forms the base of Urdu, according to
experts, but Urdu also contains a number of Persian words.
The federal panel that reviews India's education policy said some
common words in Urdu were almost impossible for even fluent speakers
of the language to pronounce.

It cited ala-e-paimaieshe-hararat, the Urdu word for thermometer, and
mahir-e-zarahat, or surgeon, and asked the education council to seek
easier alternatives. "Languages do get influenced by the culture and
environment," said a senior unnamed education ministry official. "If
we incorporate the simplified and commonly used words (in texts), that
will further popularise the language" as a choice for learners, he
said. "The school syllabus is not for seasoned Urdu speakers and is
designed for learners who are young, who do not understand words that
are not used much these days," he added.

After the subcontinent was divided at independence from Britain in
1947, mainly Hindu but officially secular India made Hindi its
official language, while Muslim-majority Pakistan awarded Urdu
official status. Hindi speakers already use a lot of English words for
medical and other terms.

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